Drinking from an Empty Glass:
A Letter to a Dear, Dark Friend
Yes, I know the government is corrupt. Yes, I know
there are people conspiring. Yes, I know people can
lack integrity. Yes, I know that western culture is materialistic.
Yes, I know that corporations are self-serving.
Yes, I know that the media is manipulative. Yes, I know
it is hard to trust love. Yes, I know that it can be difficult
to believe in God. I share many of your concerns.
And I also know that we cannot change the world
without acknowledging what is wrong. I know that we
must stand against that which shames, oppresses and
damages humanity. I know that we should not ignore
the injustices and put on a fake smile. I know that we
must find our voice and stand our ground. I know that
we must fight for our right to the light. I believe deeply
in forward moving criticism.
But something doesn’t feel quite right. You complain
all the time. You have made negativity a full time
job. You don’t make an effort to find solutions. You
blame everything on the world out there. You don’t actually
do anything positive to effect change. And you
seldom acknowledge the positive steps humanity has
made. You seldom acknowledge the beauty around
you. You almost never see the light in the darkness.
I know something from my lived experience. I
know that the light is always there. It is there, in the
breath that keeps you alive, in the smile of a child, in
the yet another chance to find your path. It is there in
the rise of the feminine, in the therapeutic revolution,
in the burgeoning quest for authenticity. If you can’t see
it, then the issue is a personal one, for there are signs of
And I also know from a lifetime of overcoming that
it is possible to hold it all at once. To fight against injustice
while still embodying the light. To see where we
are lacking, while rejoicing in our abundance. To express
our anger, and to live our gratitude. To feel overwhelmed
by an unfair world, while still achieving our goals. To see how
far we have yet to travel, while applauding how far we have come.
And so I wonder what lives below your perpetual
negativity? Apart from the problems with the world,
what happened that darkened your lens? What made
the glass so empty? Is it really all about the world ‘out
there’, or are there also unresolved personal experiences
that need to be healed? What are you really trying to express
about the lack of love, attention, and satisfaction
in your life? What lives below this victimhood? What is
your deeper complaint? What needs to expressed and
resolved so that you will see some light shining through
again? Please don’t wait until the world is perfect, for it
will never be so.
Dear friend, how can I help you to believe again?
(~Jeff Brown an excerpt from ‘Love it Forward’)
In every moment we make a decision — whether conscious or unconscious. Will I choose to open my heart, send love, withhold judgment and thus free myself from fear? Or will I close my heart, project fear instead of extending love, judge others, and thus bind myself to fear? The choice is mine and mine alone.
— Marianne Williamson
Like a tree our growth depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed boundaries and defenses we no longer need.
Trees grow up through their branches and down through their roots into the earth. They also grow wider with each passing year. As they do, they shed the bark that served to protect them but now is no longer big enough to contain them. In the same way, we create boundaries and develop defenses to protect ourselves and then, at a certain point, we outgrow them. If we don’t allow ourselves to shed our protective layer, we can’t expand to our full potential.
Trees need their protective bark to enable the delicate process of growth and renewal to unfold without threat. Likewise, we need our boundaries and defenses so that the more vulnerable parts of ourselves can safely heal and unfold. But our growth also depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed boundaries and defenses we no longer need. It is often the case in life that structures we put in place to help us grow eventually become constricting.
Unlike a tree, we must consciously decide when it’s time to shed our bark and expand our boundaries, so we can move into our next ring of growth. Many spiritual teachers have suggested that our egos don’t disappear so much as they become large enough to hold more than just our small sense of self—the boundary of self widens to contain people and beings other than just “me.” Each time we shed a layer of defensiveness or ease up on a boundary that we no longer need, we metaphorically become bigger people. With this in mind, it is important that we take time to question our boundaries and defenses. While it is essential to set and honor the protective barriers we have put in place, it is equally important that we soften and release them when the time comes. In doing so, we create the space for our next phase of growth.
by Madisyn Taylor
photos found at http://www.pinterest.com